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The Long Walk to Mogadishu: Thousands of Drought-Affected IDPs Flee to The City

Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are experiencing one of the worst droughts in 40 years after three back-to-back failed rainy seasons. Thousands of people have been forced into displacement while seeking food, water and pasture, and the governments of Kenya and Somalia have declared national emergencies.

Posted on 11 Apr 2022

In Somalia, the number of people being pushed out of the countryside and into the capital Mogadishu has reached unprecedented levels in the recent past, putting pressure on the city’s already dilapidated infrastructure thus threatening its waning recovery from more than three decades of conflict.

Vulnerable to disease and malnutrition

There are more than 518,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Mogadishu. They have been displaced from the countryside by drought and conflict, and most of them dwell in makeshift shelters in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic where they lack enough food, shelter, clean water and sanitation. This leaves them vulnerable to diseases and malnutrition which was evident as per an assessment recently conducted by DRC.

A team led by the country director conducted a rapid assessment in Mogadishu for the newly displaced families arriving in the city. The main objective of was to get a better understanding and first-hand experience of the situation on the ground, the humanitarian needs, vulnerabilities among the IDPs as well as to identify available humanitarian aid services in the area to better define the required response.

During the assessment which also entailed meeting with community elders in Kahda and Garasbaley districts in Mogadishu, the team was informed that there are more than 12,331 newly arrived IDPs that were displaced from Lower Shabelle, Bay and Bakool regions. In Kahda alone more than 4,780 newly displaced families arrived from December 2021 to February 2022.

"We trekked all the way from our village to Mogadishu"

At the Bacadween camp, 78-year-old grandmother Amina Hassan is seen sitting quietly among the displaced families in the camp. From the look on her face it is easy to tell the hardship she has endured to be where she is today. Together with her family, she left her village with only the clothes on her back and a few items, all in the hope of a better tomorrow. They arrived last month after fleeing their village in Lower Shabelle, some 90 kilometres away.

“Immediate assistance is needed to ensure these families have a safe place to stay, with enough basic humanitarian aid to survive. As DRC we will do what is possible, however there is need for a coordinated and multifaceted approach in order to make tangible impact on the lives of the displaced and help them return,” Audrey Crawford, DRC Somalia Country director.


The Danish Refugee Council aims to provide rapid support to the newly displaced families in Kahda and Garabsalye district. The emergency response includes cash transfer, provision of aqua tabs, water containers, the rehabilitation of water points and temporary shelters.

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